The challenge for the moderate candidate in Hamas’ upcoming elections is stark enough without Israel putting its finger on the scale on behalf of the pro-violence, pro-Tehran hardliners
Ismail Haniyeh is the head of the Hamas political wing and formerly Gaza's prime minister, following a split between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction. Based in Gaza, Haniyeh succeeded Khaled Mashal as the leader of Hamas.
Haniyeh was born in the Al-Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in 1962. His parents were originally from Majdal (now the Israeli city of Ashkelon), but fled during the War of Independence in 1948.
In 1987, Haniyeh graduated from the Islamic University of Gaza - where he became active with Islamic student movements - with a degree in Arabic literature. In 1989, already a member of Hamas, he was imprisoned for three years by Israeli authorities for his activities during the first Intifada.
Following his release in 1992, Haniyeh was deported to Lebanon with Hamas spiritual leader and co-founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, and some 400 other Hamas members. Haniyeh returned to the Gaza Strip in 1993 and was appointed as dean of the Islamic University. In 1997, Yassin made Haniyeh his assistant.
As he rose through the ranks of Hamas, Haniyeh was also reportedly involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. As a result, the Israel Air Force targeted Haniyeh in 2003 following a suicide bombing in Jerusalem. Haniyeh escaped the assassination attempt unharmed, as did Yassin and Hamas bombmaker Mohammad Deif, who were in the house with Haniyeh at the time.
Yassin would later be killed in a missile strike in Gaza (2004), while Deif has reportedly survived - albeit with reportedly severe injuries - a handful of Israeli assassination attempts. Rantisis, who became Hamas leader after Yassin's death, was also assassinated by Israel.
Haniyeh headed the Hamas list in the 2006 general elections in the Palestinian territories list. He took office later that year after Hamas won the majority of votes against Fatah. But the ongoing policy disputes between the two factions came to a head in 2007, resulting in a brutal power struggle for control of Gaza, won by Hamas. Following the Hamas seizure of power in Gaza, Abbas fired Haniyeh as prime minister, something Haniyeh said was an illegal act.
While some analysts view Haniyeh as leader of a more moderate faction within Hamas (Israel, the United States and the European Union class the entire movement as a terrorist organization) these policies tend to relate to his views on power-sharing with Fatah. On Israel, Haniyeh has historically been a proponent of an armed struggle, including against civilian targets.
Hamas, which has never recognized Israel's right to exist nor the 1993 Oslo Accords signed by Israel and the PLO, strives to instill Islamic Sharia law in all of pre-1948 Palestine.
Haaretz reported in March 2010 that Hamas was facing threats to its power base in Gaza from more extremist Islamic groups, which do not recognize the cease-fire agreement signed by Israel and Hamas after Operation Cast Lead. In one incident, the report says, operatives from one of the fundamentalist groups set off three explosive charges in the Shati refugee camp, not far from Haniyeh's home.
Egyptian defense officials, who also spent four hours in Israel, are said to be promoting the implementation of truce agreements
Ankara says it 'fully rejects' State Department's objection to meeting with Palestinian leader Ismail Haniyeh
Group sponsoring the campaign claims it isn't offensive to the public because it does not depict harm to Jews
Serious corruption charges against the Israeli prime minister mean more resistance, Ismail Haniyeh tells reporters in Gaza
Israel has failed to allow freedom of movement and conducted 'a policy of extortion' via its frequent reductions of Gaza’s permitted fishing zone, Haniyeh says
Defense officials say Asher Vaknin ignored Israeli interest in reaching a deal but he didn't act alone, the public security minister was set on imposing harsher conditions for prisoners at almost any price
Monday's rocket to central Israel was most likely a Hamas mistake, but the complex situation is not a comedy of errors; it's a tragedy
Hamas political chief says Israel has violated the conditions of lull in violence and is using Qatari money as a political tool to pressure the group
According to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, Israel requests physical presence there, while Hamas agrees to international supervision and similar surveillance used at Rafah crossing ■ On Friday, the Qatari ambassador's vehicle was attacked at an encampment east of Gaza
'Any humanitarian aid to Gaza will not be made at a diplomatic price,' Ismail Haniyeh says
Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh sends a conciliatory message to Syria's Assad in interview with Russian media
A video of Dr. Salah Albardawil shows him making the claim in response to the suggestion that Hamas sent youths to die at the fence as political fodder
The Israeli army's characterization of the demonstrations diminishes their gravity, but also unwittingly cast Hamas as a responsible, sophisticated political organization
40 Dead, 5,511 Wounded: UN Releases Figures on Palestinian Casualties in Gaza's Mass Protests on Israel Border
Hamas says the protests will continue even after Nakba Day on May 15
'Tall With a Strong Build, Likely Born in Middle East': Malaysia Releases Sketches of Suspects in Hamas Hit
Israel has said that Fadi Al-Batsh 'was no saint', his family has blamed the Mossad and local police suspect 'foreign agents' – here are the alleged gunmen
Abbas, Haniyeh spoke for the first time in months on Monday, resolving to move toward a unity government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Leader of Hamas's political arm, Ismail Haniyeh, is joined by Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar
The new lineup strengthens the hawks in Hamas, especially the military wing. Ismail Haniyeh will have to prove he's a leader of the Palestinians, not a militia chief
Haniyeh will likely be more connected to the reality of life in Gaza than his predecessor Khaled Meshal, but will have to to maneuver cautiously and skillfully between the various countries that are trying to dictate policy to Hamas
Move comes after Hamas published new charter, considered more moderate, accepting 1967 borders for future Palestinian state
Hamas expected to accept 1967 borders, drop call for war of extermination against Jews, but remains committed to fighting Israel
Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Egypt on his way back from Qatar, where head of Hamas Khaled Meshal resides. It was the highest-level visit from the organization since Egyptian President Morsi was overthrown.
Top official of Palestinian militant group, along with other Hamas leaders and security guards leaves Strip through Rafah Crossing on way to Cairo Airport. It is the first time Haniyeh leaves Strip since Egypt's Morsi was ousted.
Little did Israelis know six weeks ago that the man who threatened Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza would soon become defense minister.
Clashes also erupt on Gaza border as Hamas' Haniyeh says fighters found Israeli devices for finding tunnels.
Gaza suffered heavy damage in the confrontation with Israel in the summer of 2014. But now, the Shati camp's houses are covered in vibrant colors.
President Abbas says lack of hope that characterizes the young Palestinian generation fuels violence.
Haaretz's Levy is a generic name for an ideology that Israelis mistakenly classify as left-wing. After all, the right wing also wants one state, writes the opposition leader.
Israeli army cites 'Israeli humanitarian cases' as justification to string of Gaza travel request denials.